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Bible Study on Madison Street, Chicago

A work made of gelatin silver print.
© Art Shay

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.


May 1949


Art Shay
American, 1922-2018

About this artwork

Art Shay is one of Chicago’s great photojournalists. With more than 25,000 published photographs—including more than 1,000 magazine covers—Shay has shaped the way we see the world on the printed page.

Born in the Bronx, Shay took up photography at the age of 12. He served in the U.S. Air Force in World War II, and his first published photographs—of an American military air disaster—were printed in a September 1944 issue of the weekly magazine Look. After the war, he joined Time and Life magazines, writing stories that he occasionally supplemented with his own (uncredited) images. In 1948 he moved to Chicago and took up photography full-time. In the nearly seven decades since, Shay’s camera has documented the famous and the downtrodden, the international and the local, the newsworthy and the intimate.

Of particular significance in Shay’s career was his long friendship with the writer Nelson Algren (American, 1909–1981); the two met in 1949 and collaborated on several books and other projects. Together Shay and Algren roamed Chicago’s neighborhoods to document the lives and culture of the city’s down-and-out, and the photographer’s many pictures of the writer on those forays combine to form a multifaceted portrait.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Art Shay


Bible Study on Madison Street, Chicago


United States (Artist's nationality)


Made 1949


Gelatin silver print


Image/paper: 18.8 × 20.8 cm (7 7/16 × 8 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the artist

Reference Number



© Art Shay

Extended information about this artwork

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